House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has decided not to run for re-election, Axios reported Wednesday. The speaker has apparently told "confidants" that he will announce his decision to retire "soon."
Ryan represents Wisconsin's 1st District, where he's an extremely strong candidate. He won re-election in 2016 with 65 percent of the vote — but perhaps more troubling for the GOP, he won the Republican primary with a whopping 84 percent of the vote, defeating hard-right candidate Paul Nehlen, a person with views so far on the fringe that the Wisconsin Republican Party disavowed him earlier this year.
The filing deadline in Wisconsin is June 1, so should Ryan confirm his retirement plans, the state party would have a bit of time to find a suitable alternative candidate to Nehlen. But even still, Cook Political Report's David Wasserman notes, while Wisconsin's 1st may have been a lock for the GOP under Ryan, that's not so much the case without him:
Rumors that Ryan had reached his limit with the speakership — a job he very publicly didn't want — have swirled for months now, as he has struggled to maintain his reputation as the GOP's moral leader while balancing a relationship with President Trump. But if he indeed walks away from the House, it's a sign of trouble for the GOP: "This is a Titanic, tectonic shift," one Republican insider told Axios. "This is going to make every Republican donor believe the House can't be held."
Democrats need to flip 24 Republican seats to win the House in this year's midterms. Read more about what might happen if they pull it off here at The Week.